To keep your member-based organization solvent, you must retain as many members as possible. While a lot of organizations focus on endless marketing campaigns to bring in new members, it’s equally, if not more, important to keep the members that you already have. Otherwise, you create a leaking bucket where old members leave as new members arrive.
Let’s discuss how to plug up the leaks and improve your membership retention rate. The below strategies will improve member satisfaction, lengthen your member life cycle, and provide them with alternatives to canceling. Let’s get started.
Identify Signs of Attrition
You can’t rescue members from churning if you don’t know when churn is likely to occur. Therefore, before we delve into retention strategies, let’s identify tell-tale signs that a member is about to leave your organization.
Dwindling or lack of activity
One of the most notable signs that member churn is imminent is a noticeable drop in activity. If a once-active member is now logging in to your membership site less often or not showing up to member events, churn is on the horizon.
Uptick in complaints
Have you received an increase in complaints, not just from one member but from multiple members? Remember that not every member will voice their frustration and simply leave. However, the ones who do should be valued because they provide valuable insight into trouble areas in your organization. Fix these areas to prevent member churn.
Increase in fees
Every organization increases its membership fees from time to time, ideally once a year. However, when you do increase your fees, brace yourself for a small amount of churn. If you experience a lot of churn (more than 10%), it may indicate that your fee increase is too high. This is why it’s important to raise your fees incrementally every year and avoid a huge fee jump.
Rewards for new members only, but not anything for established members
A lot of member-based organizations make the error of providing all of the benefits to incoming members but nothing for loyal members. Keep in mind that your members will see any extra incentives that you provide for your incoming members. The disparity between the benefits that a new member receives versus what an established member receives often leads to dissatisfaction and eventually churn.
A change in company structure
If you work primarily with corporate accounts, you know how important it is to maintain a positive relationship with your key contact. However, if that person changes positions or leaves the company, that entire account could be in jeopardy. When contacts change, churn is probable unless you quickly establish a relationship with the replacement. You must work quickly to demonstrate the value that your organization presents to the company.
1. Develop Your Engagement Scoring
To retain members, you need to score them based on their activity and behavior. This allows you to tailor your messages and outreach accordingly.
A simple way to segment your members is into three groups: Very Engaged, Moderately Engaged, Not Engaged. Ideally, you want those who are very engaged to remain that way. It makes sense to send more opportunities for engagement to these members, as well as expand their opportunities to share your brand with others. You may invite these members to refer others to you. Another option is to invite them to exclusive meetings where you celebrate their involvement with gifts and other incentives.
For both the moderately and the not engaged groups, you may show them other ways to get involved in your organization. Perhaps invite them to join you on social media or set up special networking events. It may be useful to send educational emails and case studies that show these groups how to get the most out of their memberships.
To accurately determine engagement levels, look at the member’s involvement in the following areas:
- Email opens and click throughs
- Website logins and pages that are visited
- Social media participation
- In person event attendance
2. Don’t Look at Cancel as the End of the Road
Just because a member initiates a cancel, it doesn’t mean that they’re gone for good. Some savvy members will cancel with anticipation that you’ll respond with special financial incentives to keep them active, such as a discount code. Others simply may not feel like they’re getting any value from your organization, and there’s little you can do to change their mind. However, there is another group that’s still on the fence about whether or not to cancel. Depending on their reason, you may be able to woo them back.
Whenever a member initiates a cancel or do not renew request, send an email to ask why. You can then counter with an offer that persuades them to stay. Perhaps the offer is to upgrade to a different account for the same price. Or perhaps you can offer hands on guidance to ensure that the member receives the maximum benefit from being a part of your organization.When a member initiates a cancel, it doesn’t mean that they’re gone for good. Here's what we mean: Click To Tweet
3. Make Your Pricing Simple
Pricing can be a headache for your members. Often, members join an organization expecting that their annual membership fee covers their entire list of benefits. However, some organizations charge for each individual service separately, which can be frustrating for members.
To avoid unclear pricing, offer a flat fee that’s free of loopholes. You can also offer transparent but tiered pricing where members clearly see the benefits they gain from each level of membership.
4. Make Renewal Easy
Renewing membership should be so easy that members shouldn’t need to think about it. If a member needs to manually renew membership, they’ll need to spend time evaluating your value versus your fee. If they’re not sure about your value, they’ll eventually opt out of renewing.
To prevent this from happening, be sure to have a credit card on file for automatic renewal. Then, on the renewal date, charge the card and then send a billing confirmation email. In that email, be sure to thank the member for renewing, and offer a list of the benefits that the member receives. To take it one step further, also share how the member has specifically benefited from being a part of your organization for the past year.
Another option is to offer multiple year renewals at one time. This way, you can lock the member in for two, five, ten years, or even a lifetime.
5. Correct Payment Issues Immediately
What happens when you bill the card on file for a membership renewal, but it declines? A surprising amount of organizations fall silent and neglect to reach out to the member about the declined payment.
The right course of action is to send an email immediately to let the member know that something went wrong with the payment. This gives them a chance to correct the issue. Perhaps the credit card information was changed within the last year, and they simply had not updated their files accordingly. An immediately deployed dunning email will rescue the member from churning.
To prevent members from churning, it requires a thoughtful strategy. Use the above tips to improve satisfaction levels and your membership retention rate.
Before you go, check out these related posts:
- What Leads to Membership Churn?
- How to Keep Members Engaged After Your Certification Program Has Ended
- Tips to Maximize Your Member Engagement Through Your Certification Program